No public bicycle sharing for South Bengaluru

No public bicycle sharing for South Bengaluru

No public bicycle sharing for South Bengaluru

It's official. South Bengaluru has been left out of the Public Bicycle Sharing (PBS) project.

Public bicycling infrastructure will be created in a 28 sqkm area of the city covering the localities of MG Road, Vidhana Soudha, Indiranagar, Banaswadi, HRBR Layout, HBR Layout, Kacharakanahalli, Koramangala and HSR Layout, according to a government order issued by the Urban Development Department.

It turns out that constituencies represented by Congress MLAs - Shanthinagar, Shivajinagar, BTM Layout and Sarvagnanagar - have been given preference for the PBS. The only exception is HSR Layout that falls under the BJP-represented Bommanahalli constituency. "Culturally, South Bengaluru is more traditional and the government may be under the impression that there aren't any cyclists in this part of the city," BJP's Basavanagudi legislator L A Ravi Subramanya quipped.

"This is really sad and it's an extension of the treatment being meted out to South Bengaluru," he said, accusing the Congress government of not consulting BJP legislators while planning and executing projects.

The PBS, which will be implemented at a cost of Rs 80 crore, will have 345 cycle docking stations. While MG Road, Vidhana Soudha, Indiranagar, Banaswadi, HRBR Layout, HBR Layout and Kacharakanahalli will get 3,148 bicycles, Koramangala and HSR Layout will get 2,852 bicycles.

Additional Chief Secretary (urban development) Mahendra Jain said areas with bicycle lanes - existing or proposed - and those with high tourist footfalls were prioritised for the PBS. Urban evangelist V Ravichandar, however, pointed out that Jayanagar was where the city's first cycling lanes came up. "It's ironic that Jayanagar has been left out," he said.

Better fare

The city's inner zones fared better on footpaths, pedestrian crossings, street lighting and open spaces according to a recent Janaagraha Street Quality Score report.

"South Bengaluru is ideal for cycling as it has the widest roads in the city," Jayanagar 5th Block Residents Welfare Association member N Mukund said. "Areas such as Jayanagar and Basavanagudi are represented mostly by the BJP, so it must be for political reasons that they've been left out." Bengaluru City Development Minister K J George acknowledged the exclusion of South Bengaluru. "It's a good suggestion. I'll speak with the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) about this," he said.

The PBS will be implemented through a society that will have a governing council represented by DULT, BMTC, BMRCL and BBMP. The project is expected to generate earnings of Rs 27 crore over a five-year period.